Question: I think I've made a dreadful mistake, and I know it was costly. I had wanted to do some decorating in the living room and dining room for several years and finally talked my husband into letting me have my way. Well, my way was fine in the living room. It really looks fresh and pretty and everyone is satisfied. My way in the dining room, however, is the disaster.
I was carried away by wallpaper with matching fabric. Both are a striped pattern with a faint leaf design running between the stripes. Actually, the pattern is pretty, but there's just too much of it. It's on the walls, the chair cushions, and I even had shades made from the fabric.
There's more. I bought extra fabric, which was no small expense, and had a to-the-floor tablecloth made for my round dining table.
It's so busy that my husband almost refuses to take his meals in the room. And I have to confess it bothers me too. The room appears about half as big as it was before, and the walls seem to close in on us.
I don't always use the tablecloth, so that helps some. But what can I do for very little money to relieve the situation and not feel the money is down the drain?
Answer: The simplest solution might be to put a molding around the room about three feet from the floor and strip the wallpaper off the walls beneath it. Then paint the molding and the lower wall a solid color to form a wainscot.
Also, you might remove the wallpaper from one wall and paint it a complementary solid color. Then put a mirror on an opposite wall to reflect the solid-color wall.
If the patterned shades are causing the problem, look around your house to see if the shades might work in another room, such as a guest bedroom, and replace the dining room shades with solid-color blinds.
The floor-length tablecloth might survive the re-do, if you use a square solid-color cloth on top of the patterned one.
OOPS, A GOOF: P.J. Brennan and Gale E. Irwin were quick to point out an error in this column Feb. 1 regarding the actual dimensions of planed lumber. In discussing the construction of bookshelves, I accurately said the dimensions of a board are less than the dimensions by which it is known. For instance, a 2-by-4 is actually less than two inches by four inches. Unfortunately, the actual dimensions given were inaccurate. For now, just remember that a one-inch board is generally only three-quarters of an inch, and in most other cases, all other boards will be one-half inch less than the dimension by which it is know. This can vary; take a measure with you when you order your lumber, and ask a knowledgeable person to check your drawn-up plans before ordering the lumber cut.
Q: I plan to have some rather extensive landscaping done at a home I just bought. I've talked to a couple of people who claim to be landscape architects. How do I know these people are qualified?
A: A licensed landscape architect must have six years of job training and/or education in the field of landscape architecture. A written and an oral examination are required by the State Board of Landscape Architects to be a licensed landscape architect, and the license must be renewed every two years.
If you have any doubts or want to register complaints, you might contact the State Board of Landscape Architects, Department of Consumer Affairs, 1021 "O" Street, Sacramento, Calif. 95814.
Dale Baldwin will answer remodeling questions of general interest on this page. Send your questions to Home Improvement, Real Estate Department, Los Angeles Times, Times Mirror Square, Los Angeles 90053. Baldwin cannot answer questions individually. Snapshots of successful do-it-yourself projects may be submitted but cannot be returned.